• Mar

    HHP: Tracking the Fifth Starter Competition

    by Frobby


    Thought it might be nice to have a game log for the four main candidates. I will try to keep this up to date. Road games are marked with an asterisk since the lineups are usually tougher (because the regulars don't travel as much).

    Brian Matusz
    2/25: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K's
    3/02: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K*
    3/08: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K's*
    3/13: 4.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K's* 
    3/19: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K's*

    Jake Arrieta
    2/23: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K's
    2/27: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 0 K's*
    3/06: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K's (Team Spain exhibition)
    3/11: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K's*
    3/16: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K's*

    Zach Britton
    2/23: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K's
    2/27: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K's
    3/06: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (Team Spain exhibition)
    3/11: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K's*
    3/15: 3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

    Steve Johnson
    2/23: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K's
    2/27: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K's*
    3/05: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K's*
    3/12: [Intrasquad game, results not reported]
    3/17: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K's


    I probably should be tracking which starts are at home (therefore mostly against scrubs) and which are on the road. However, the regulars will start getting more playing time now, even in road games.

    Edit: Road games are now marked with an asterisk in the OP. Interesting to note that Matusz's last four starts have all been in road games, whereas Britton has only pitched once on the road, and that was in relief.

    By the way, I didn't include Jurjjens on my list, because I can't tell if he's really under consideration. I'd say if he doesn't start this weekend, he's clearly not being considered. If he does start this weekend (Saturday would be the likely day, with Matusz going on Sunday), then I'll amend the OP to include him.

    By the way, there are only 11 days left in spring training, meaning that Arrieta, Johnson and Matusz are going to get at most two more starts. Theoretically, Britton could get three, including his start tomorrow. But my guess is we might see the O's start working Hammel/Chen/Gonzalez/Tillman into some of these games, especially the four games vs. non-AL East opponents. I wouldn't be surprised to see Buck tip his hand after Friday's game, by which time he'll have had one more look at Britton, Arrieta and Johnson.



    Trying to guess along with Buck regarding the four "presumptive" starters.

    Hammel pitched on March 17. Work on March 22 and 27 puts him on schedule for Opening Day. We play AL East opponents on both of those days, so I guess he keeps Hammel under wraps.
    Chen pitched on March 18. Work on March 23 and 28 lines him up to be the no. 2 starter. The March 23 game is with the Phillies in Sarasota, and none of Matusz/Arrieta/Britton/Johnson will go that day. If Chen starts that day, it could mean the end of Jurrjens' candidacy for the rotation.
    Tillman pitched on March 19, so work on the 24th and 29th would line him up as no. 3. Those games are vs. Pittsburgh and an exhibition vs. State College of Florida. If Tillman pitches on the 24th, that knocks Matusz off his regular day, maybe he pitches in a MiL game.
    Gonzalez pitched on March 16, so he's currently due for work on the 21st and 26th, but then he could be sitting around for quite a while the way things are lined up. The O's already announced Arrieta for the 21st, so I guess Gonzo pitches at Twin Lakes again. The the 26th is against the Twins and he could start that game. Logically, whoever starts on March 30 vs. the Mets is lined up to be the 4th starter. Right now Britton lines up for that day, but if Tillman pitches Sunday, they could bump Matusz back to Monday and then he'd be lined up for it, too.

    It seems to me like one week from today, March 26, is the latest Buck can go before he makes his decision. And just looking at the timing of things, I think it's likely to be Britton or Matusz, who will be lined up to take the final exhibition start on March 30 vs. the Mets and then pitch the home opener on April 5.

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